The TEAL (Technology Enabled Active Learning) Classroom

The application of technology is rapidly increasing across industries, including the education sector. The use of technology in education impacts learning positively and enables not only hands on interaction among students but also for the presentation of conceptual and dynamic images that portray meaningful relationships among complex concepts. 

This has led to the emergence of TEAL, an instructional education technique that was spearheaded  by John Belcher, which emphasizes utilization of various technologies and techniques to improve the learning process. But what is it? Continue reading to find out.

What Is TEAL?

educational technology

A TEAL classroom incorporates and blends together lectures, recitations, and an interactive learning environment. This new learning format combines educational content from a lecturer, simulation, and learners' experiences using technological solutions to provide a rich collaborative learning experience for students.

TEAL is used to provide academic and professional development that incorporates innovation into the learning experience by leveraging technology, pedagogy, and classroom design. 

Typically, educators deliver short lectures interspersed with topical questions, visualizations on various subjects, and pencil-and-paper exercises. Learners use animated simulations designed to help them visualize concepts and carry out experiments during class. 

Educators periodically ask questions, which students may discuss and answer through an electronic polling system with handheld polling keypads. Educators no longer need to lecture from a fixed location but walk around talking to students about their work, assessing their understanding, facilitating interaction, and promoting learning. TEAL ensures enhanced development of the student's knowledge and skills to produce workplace-ready professionals.

 

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Active Learning Classrooms

Active learning classrooms (ALC) are spaces that are configured to enable active, collaborative learning and multimodal teaching. Technology-Enabled Active Learning classrooms feature a wide range of features, including round tables, screen displays, projection screens, screen mirroring capabilities, and whiteboards, among other modern technology and equipment.

This equipment makes the learning process more effective. For instance, whereas a regular classroom may have a single round table for certain activities, TEAL classrooms are made up of round tables, designed to enhance collaboration among students.

Teaching in such classroom settings can enhance student attitudes, conceptual understanding, and passing rates. It blends multiple learning styles for maximum effect. So how can you prepare to teach in a TEAL classroom? Here are a few tips:

Get Creative in the Classroom

While educators may not currently have a formal ALC at their disposal on campus, any classroom can be deemed an ALC where active learning can occur. Educators can convert their classrooms spaces into an active learning environment in several ways, including integrating collaborative and multimodal activities into their lesson formats.

Even in a fixed seating arrangement, class discussion, group work, case-based learning, and team-based learning can deconstruct the conventional authoritarian structure that is usually implemented in traditional classrooms. 

Educators can also revise seating arrangements, if they aren't flexible enough, and offer polling tools, note cards, or posters to give students additional ways of displaying knowledge, expressing concerns, and synthesizing content.

Reserve a Space

Whereas TEAL offers multiple monitors, whiteboards, and round tables throughout the entire classroom, among other resources, the classroom setting can also feature several reservable spaces. This is to mean that TEAL classrooms should have enough space to incorporate more educational technology that makes learning more engaging and effective. 

Inspect the Room

Given that TEAL classrooms don't have traditional classroom components such as a focal point or a podium, educators should get acquainted with the space before planning their lessons. They should visit the space, observe the class, or watch videos of other educators using that space. This will help them determine how to make the most of the TEAL classroom space. For instance, they can focus class time on practical and collaborative application exercises.

Consider the Furniture

Educators should consider how the physical layout of the TEAL classroom affects how they shape their lesson plans, plan their delivery technique, and determine the learning outcomes they can expect.

In instances where digital technologies can improve the intended learning outcomes, educators can consider techniques for integrating display screens and plug-ins around the classroom. These can be further amplified by screen mirroring technology, which the teacher can use to mirror the screen of any connected device to these displays.

Consider Active Learning 

Active lesson classrooms are often more ideal for active learning activities than lectures, which usually require that students sit in a forward-facing position for visual demonstration and notetaking.

With ALCs, apart from classic activities such as group work, jigsaws, think-pair-share, and idea mapping, educators can also use the classroom space for team-based learning, case-based learning, and in-house experiential learning opportunities such as demonstrations and experiments. Additionally, teachers can use screen mirroring technology to guide larger discussions and connect with their students on a more in-depth level.

Related: How Screen Mirroring Technology Can Change a Classroom

Ensure There's Accessibility and Diversity

While TEAL classrooms are more flexible than conventional classrooms, they may present new challenges for students. These challenges include social anxiety, mobility concerns, ADHD, and more. Educators should ensure that they emphasize disability statements in their lessons.

In these statements, they should invite learners to privately share any challenges that they may be facing in the active lesson classroom learning environment. Emphasizing class discussions and group work can also increase incidents of gender, racial, and socioeconomic tension, as learners are sorted into groups, voice their opinions and engage with their peers. 

Educators can incorporate diversity statements in their lessons, welcoming all perspectives and echoing the benefits of honesty and respect. They can also work with different learners' personalities to plan the best ways to form student groups, thus ensuring that no single group is dominated.

Educators should also remember and prepare for the idea that the open, collaborative environment that TEAL classrooms provide can result in more complex or even tense conversations, as various subjects are explored more dramatically than they would be in lectures. 

Teachers can address all these and other concerns by establishing an inclusive environment and inclusive teaching methods.

Create Rules on How Students Should Behave

TEAL classrooms receive positive feedback from learners, specifically for the communal seating setup. While this presents opportunities for educators, it also presents some challenges as well.

Educators should work with the students to create rules for remaining on task during group work, asking questions, projecting their views, and using laptops and mobile phones. They might consider establishing policies in the syllabus and reviewing them regularly in the classroom.

Add Some Creativity in Your Teaching

Educators who offer traditional lectures in TEAL classrooms experience diminishing returns in their classrooms, given that these classrooms aren't ideal for mere lectures.

Therefore, educators should rethink their teaching approach in the TEAL setup; they should reimagine content delivery through demonstrations, collaboration, digitization, and performance; and implement innovative assessment methods that allow learners to create and perform better with their peers and the technology.

What Are the Objectives of TEAL?

Technology in the Classroom A view from behind the scenes

Here is an outline of some of the objectives of technology-enabled active learning:

Promote Student-Focused Learning That Engages Students

Student-focused learning is an environment in which students can not only choose what to study but also how. Rather than focusing on the instructor, this learning environment has the student's activities and responsibilities at heart.

Technology-Enabled Active Learning ensures that students find the learning process more meaningful by ensuring that students are actively engaged in creating, understanding, and connecting to knowledge. It not only provides students with an intuitive classroom environment but also treats them as co-creators in the teaching and learning process. 

Educators leverage various tools to engage and include students in the decisions about what and how they learn and how the lessons will be accessed. Various TEAL solutions ensure that student-educator communication is efficient. This way, educators can understand their student's backgrounds, capabilities, and interests.

The role of educators in an active classroom environment is to motivate students to do more discovery learning and learn from each other. The educator focuses on creating authentic, real-life tasks to encourage students to actively participate in the lessons.

Offer Multiple Ways to Share and Display Content

Active learning is an effective teaching approach. Instructional techniques for active learning can take numerous forms, including gaming, role-playing, writing, simulation, experimentation, and discussions. Active learning takes place when learners participate in their own learning regardless of which activities are involved in the process. Active learning transcends passive listening, recitation, and memorization. 

TEAL leverages a wide range of technologies, including projectors, screen mirroring solutions, PCs, LCD monitors, and whiteboards, among other devices. The unique characteristics of these technologies can improve, increase, intensify, and amplify active learning.

Web applications, open-source software, and other technologies enhance student engagement as they build and distribute solutions that enhance the learning process. These technologies offer opportunities for research, experimentation, self-expression, group work, and so on. 

Technology-Enabled Active Learning has transformed the classroom environment. It has transformed the learning and teaching process. The visual, engaging, and sequential approach of teaching followed by an intuitive and active learning environment in the classroom helps students gain interest in whatever they are learning. Consequently, they understand their lessons better and acquire more knowledge.

Online Research 

Nearly everything is available at our fingertips, thanks to the internet. By creating a dynamic classroom, teachers can encourage students to prepare well for the lessons and become active participants. Educators and students can discuss a given topic extensively by researching online material from various sources. 

Promote Innovation That Facilitates and Encourages Active Engagement

You may be tempted to think that technology only creates a distraction in the classroom. But that's not the case. Technology can, in fact, encourage active student participation in the classroom. By using different types of technology in the classroom, dull topics become more interesting, and students become more willing to actively participate in the lessons. 

For educators, the innovations brought forth by technology can be a crucial part of their teaching methods. They might use software programs, apps, and other modern classroom solutions to help their students engage with each other and learn new concepts from various lesson areas. For educators accustomed to low-tech teaching methods, this becomes a big part of their growth and professional development. 

For students, the use of TEAL in the classroom helps improve student engagement—it always leads to stronger cognitive engagement and greater emotional learning with engagement. There's too much variation in students' capabilities and the level and nature of tasks that they can handle. With increased classroom engagement, students can better absorb the lesson content.

The important thing to understand is that participation is different from engagement. A student can participate in a class without necessarily being engaged. By adopting technology-based active learning, educational institutions can leverage the different solutions at their disposal to enhance student engagement.

Effective Display of Content That Supports Various Learning Styles

Effective display of content not only boosts student engagement and improves information acquisition, but it also makes the classroom atmosphere more lively – a plain classroom is uninviting. It can negatively impact the concentration of students. A classroom display shouldn't only create an engaging atmosphere, but should also reflect an educator's teaching methods. 

Whichever display solution you decide to use for your lessons, ensure that it is suitable for that lesson and will ensure that students grasp the gist of what you are trying to communicate. In short, an effective content display technology optimizes the teaching process while at the same time ensuring that students understand what they are being taught. 

TEAL incorporates the use of effective content implementation solutions that support various learning methods. Whether you prefer auditory, spatial/visual, physical, logical, social, or solitary, you are sure that there are technological solutions both for educators and students that can improve your preferred learning style. 

For instance, projectors and screen mirroring technology are some of the go-to solutions if you're looking to use a visual teaching method. Whichever teaching technique you decide to use, you are assured of getting positive results provided that you implement them properly.

Related: Methods for Inspiring Students to be Active in Learning

Multi-Use Design: Discussion, Group Work, Lectures

Technology-enabled active classrooms involve changing the roles and responsibilities of students and educators; in the way they participate in the classroom in the case of students and in the way classes are run in the case of educators. In this classroom setting, various teaching methods are used in the classroom, including:

Discussions 

A classroom discussion refers to an exercise in which the educator and the students share views on a given topic that was lectured previously.

Facilitating and promoting classroom discussions can not only ensure that students learn from each other, but it also helps them understand and retain the lecture better. 

Group work

A group work basically involves group members working together to motivate students, promote active learning, and nurture critical thinking, decision-making, and communication skills. However, without careful planning and coordination, group work can frustrate educators and students and end up feeling like a waste of time. 

Think-pair-share

This is a collaborative learning approach where students collaborate to answer a question or solve a problem about a given assignment. Think-pair-share learning approach requires that students ponder about a given topic individually or answer a given question and then share ideas with their classmates.

This learning approach helps students think individually, encourages students to share ideas with their classmates, and helps focus the attention of students. 

Jigsaw

Jigsaw refers to a cooperative learning style that enables every student of a home group to specialize in a single aspect of a topic. This learning strategy provides a way for students to understand and retain information while developing their collaboration skills. 

Lectures

Lectures are oral presentations meant to present information or educate people about a given subject, for instance, by a teacher or a lecturer. 

Technology Supports Easy Collaboration and Communication Between Students and Between Students and Faculty 

Technology-enabled creative learning fosters collaboration in the classroom. Not only can students engage with teachers during the lesson, but they can also communicate with each other more effectively.

Through learning approaches such as group work, group discussions, and jigsaws, students get to bring their efforts together to solve various problems. In a collaborative classroom environment, students can seek clarification from the educators and share their ideas and thoughts and support one another.

Benefits of Technology Enabled Active Learning (TEAL)

Best Screen Mirroring Device for the Classroom

Students can benefit from technology-enabled active learning in numerous ways, from enhancing their collaboration skills to improving their self-confidence. Here are some of the benefits of TEAL:

Students Learn in Multiple Ways and Absorb the Material the Way That Works Best for Them

Technology-enabled classrooms offer students multiple ways to learn. From lectures and think-pair-share to group discussions and jigsaws, these different learning techniques provide students with different ways to absorb what they are being taught. 

For students who are comfortable working in groups, group discussions may be ideal. On the other hand, lectures are ideal for students who absorb content by hearing the educator's/instructor's explanations.

Active Learning Helps Students to Nurture Their Collaborative Skills

Technology-powered active learning involves widespread participation in group-based activities. When the students learn to collaborate and work closely together, it's easier for them to complete their assigned projects and tasks. Collaboration between students also enables them to gain more insights by bouncing ideas off each other. 

Group work and group discussions can also broaden perspectives, more so when each group member shares their views and knowledge to get everyone closer to attaining a common goal.

Active Learning Can Enhance Creative Learning Skills

While creativity is one of the most important skills that students should have, it's also the most challenging for students to acquire. What's more, creativity is one of the most in-demand skills that potential employees look out for when recruiting new personnel. 

When students learn in active classrooms, they are better positioned to determine where they need to put more effort to hone their creative thinking capabilities. Engaging in collaborative exchange and individual reflection regularly to improve their thinking skills helps students to come up with better ideas and effective solutions to their problems.

Active Learning Encourages Risk-Taking

TEAL involves massive reorganization of the classroom environment. As such, students may initially resist embracing active learning. After all, it's easier to sit in class, and the teaching and learning process is more streamlined. 

Active learning pushes students to come out of their comfort zones by creating an atmosphere where risk-taking is encouraged. When students get comfortable sharing their thoughts and opinions and defending their viewpoints, and building on each other's ideas, they will gain more self-confidence.

Active Learning Can Improve Engagement in the Classroom

According to Bonwell and Eison, technology enables active learning that involves students undertaking various tasks and thinking about the things they are doing. Simply put, students transition from merely being observers to actively engaging with the content presented to them in class. 

When students are directly engaged with their learning materials, they can develop a positive attitude towards their training. This allows them to gain deeper insights and connect with the material, thereby improving learning success. 

Active learning in a face-to-face classroom setup often takes the form of FAQ sessions, discussions, and role-playing, among other activities. This enables learners to connect and engage better in the classroom.

Active Learning Promotes Higher Retention

Active learning has been proven to significantly improve content retention. In fact, according to Dale's Cone of Experience, learners absorb more information through "active learning," given its direct and purposeful nature.

It is different from the conventional learning style, where students just passively make their way through lessons without actually participating and actively doing things. With TEAL, students retain most of the information from the learning resources. 

Active learning involves engaging in activities beyond reading and listening. Given that students use more than one sense at a given time, they are able to understand and remember the lessons better and ingrain them in their long-term memory.

Active Learning Makes Learning More Fun 

Nothing is more boring to a student than just sitting in a classroom and listening until the talking comes to an end. Without interaction during lessons, the learning experience is poor, which results in an waste of energy, time, and money.

By embracing technology-enabled active learning, learning becomes more exciting and fun. This is primarily because everyone is expected to engage in the discussions, play a part in the class activities, and apply their knowledge in practice. 

Active Learning Allows Instant Feedback and Improvement 

Typically, active learning involves hands-on activities, discussions, assessments, and quizzes that enable educators to immediately evaluate their students' understanding of the lessons. This enables the educators to provide the students with instant feedback and guidance to overcome any performance gaps and achieve their desired learning objectives. Students equipped with the power to air their views in class can also provide feedback about their learning process and voice any concerns they may have.

Screen Mirroring Solutions Can Complement TEAL, Making It More Effective

TEAL classrooms are important to our classrooms and our students. One simple technology that can amplify every aspect of modern apps and devices is screen mirroring.

With screen mirroring technology, you can instantly turn your classrooms into TEAL classrooms. Mirror any connected device to a classroom display for interaction and discussion, or mirror multiple screens to the central display for shared presentations. Move about the room wirelessly and engage with students while you maintain sole control of what is displayed, from anywhere.

Create a more dynamic learning environment, involve your students, and own your classroom. Vivi works with virtually any device and display and is very easy to use. TEAL amplified with screen mirroring can result in your classroom environment being more streamlined and your lessons more effective. Book a demo today to see how it works.